The DA will be lodging a complaint with the South African Nursing Council (SANC) for the irregular and callous conduct of the Sister-in-Charge at Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital Ward 3 as evidenced in a recording of a conversation between her and Esmarie Kotzee, sister of the seriously injured patient Joe Astle admitted there on Christmas Day.

Joe Astle (25) was seriously wounded after a farm attack near Leeudoringstad in the North-West on Christmas Day. He was shot twice in the mouth and the bullets are lodged in his brain. Even though there were no medical doctors available at Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital to make a proper assessment, he was not referred to another hospital that could take care of him.

When Ms. Kotzee asked whether her brother Joe had a feeding tube, the Sister-in-Charge gave an evasive answer suggesting that he had none.

When Ms. Kotzee asked whether she, as next-of-kin, could visit in the morning as this was an emergency, she was told no, normal visiting hours applied. When she asked to speak with the attending physician as was her right, she was told no, she had to come in personally.

Patients go to hospitals to be treated, healed and dealt with the dignity that they as human beings deserve. Those injured and traumatised must be cared for with emergency treatment and, as the Hippocratic Oath demands, with no effort spared to preserve life. Close relatives should have access to and information about their next-of-kin’s condition as long as it does not interfere with their clinical treatment.

Hospitals are not prisons or concentration camps. The Sister-on-Duty in Ward 3 at that Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital Complex should be held to account for her callous and unethical conduct.